Carbon Sequestration Potential in Midwest Agricultural Land and Restored Grasslands

Principal Investigator: Roser Matamala

Co-investigators: Julie D. Jastrow, Evan A. Keeler

Collaborators: Miquel A. Gonzalez-Meler, Gabriel G. Katul


Carbon dioxide fluxes and stocks in terrestrial ecosystems are key measurements needed to constrain quantification of regional carbon sinks and sources and the mechanisms controlling them. This information is required to produce a sound carbon budget for North America. The purpose of the proposed project is to examine CO2 and energy fluxes from agricultural land and from restored tallgrass prairie to compare their carbon sequestration potentials. The proposed study integrates eddy covariance measurements with biometric measurements of plant and soil carbon stocks for two systems in northeastern Illinois: (1) long-term cultivated land in corn-soybean rotation with conventional tillage and (2) a 15 year-old restored prairie that represents a long-term application of CRP conversion of cultivated land to native vegetation. The primary objectives of the proposed study are to (1) compare net ecosystem production derived by integrating eddy covariance estimates of net ecosystem exchange over time with independent biometric measurements of ecosystem carbon stocks, and (2) compare carbon dynamics and stocks for the two management practices. The study contributes to the North American Carbon Program by providing information on the magnitude and distribution of carbon stocks and the processes that control carbon dynamics in cultivated and CRP-restored land in the U.S. Midwest.


The prairie site has been functioning since October 2004 and the agricultural site since July 2005.

Links to :

1) AmeriFlux:

2) Consortium for Research on Enhancing Carbon Sequestration in Terrestrial Ecosystems, CSITE

3) North America Carbon Program

4) Fermi Prairie Site webcam archive

Funded since October 2004 by DOE/Office of Science/BER/Terrestrial Carbon Cycle Research Program. Oct, 2004.



U.S. Department of Energy